“Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois.” – Le Corbusier

It’s safe to say that the following chairs didn’t settle for just being furniture. A chair can be an architectural feat. It can be a work of art.

More than any other type of furniture, chairs have fascinated artists, designers, and architects due to their particular form and function. Many famous artists and architects have taken to creating a chair in order to try out concepts, structures, and ideas that would later be employed in mass-scale when designing buildings and larger-than-life sculptures.

“Designing a chair presents the opportunity to express my position — it’s like a testing ground for ideas that interest me, and a chance to engage in a production process with a technical team,” architect David Adjaye told art historian Agata Toromanoff in an interview for her new bookChairs by Architects. Chairs by Artists and ArchitectsThe book got us thinking about the striking installation of the chair-as-art that’s on display at the fourth floor of the SFMOMA, pictured above. The installation celebrates art’s long-held fascination with chairs.

Related: 7 Reasons Every Art Lover Must Visit the New SFMOMA

Each chair on display at the SFMOMA meditation on a single material – whether it be wood, plastic, vulcanized fiber, mold-formed cowhide or pressure-cast aluminum.

SFMOMA Curator of Architecture and Design Joseph Becker told me that even though every chair was intended by the artist to support the weight of the human body, guests aren’t allowed to actually sit on them. The SFMOMA is more interested in preservation, rather than utilization. Joseph’s behind is the rare exception – he admitted to having taken a seat on a few of them. 🙊

Below are a few of those chairs that really grabbed our attention, plus a few other notable chairs by famous artists and architects around the world.

Nendo Cabbage Chair

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Tom Price PP Tube Chair

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Michael Young Oxygen Chair

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Front Design Chair

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Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West Armchair

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Eero Saarinen Ball Chair

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Wendell Castle Concrete Chair

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Jack Rogers Hopkins Sculpted Chair

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Studio Drift Ghost Chair

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Ryuji Nakamura Hechima Chair

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Charles and Ray Eames Walnut Stools

charles-and-ray-eames-walnut-stools Chairs by Artists and Architects

Marijn Van Der Poll Do Hit Chair

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David Adjaye Washington Collection

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Mario Botta Lounge Chair

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Oscar Niemeyer Alta Armchair

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Max Lamb Poly Chair

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